A lot of things can be said of Randy Edsall's tenure as Maryland's head coach. Most of them aren't exactly glowing endorsements of his coaching acumen, or lack thereof. However, there was that one Saturday back in 2014 when he took his Maryland Terrapins on the 190-mile bus ride to Happy Valley. Looking back, who could have seen this one coming?
Maryland made the bus ride north coming off a 52-7 welcome-to-the-B1G whopping at the hands of the Wisconsin Badgers. The week before hosting the Terps, Penn State had played the eventual National Champion Ohio State Buckeyes dead even through 60 minutes in a nationally-televised whiteout game, before losing 31-24 in overtime (in a game that some Penn State fans on this blog claimed that the Nittany Lions had 'essentially won'.)
Maryland was lead by a head coach whom a lot of the fanbase (myself included) wasn't impressed with. That said, there was a glimmer of hope coming off a 7-win 2013 that included the first bowl game appearance in 3 seasons. Also, Maryland was 5/6 of the way to back-to-back bowl game eligibility for the first time in 6 years in their inaugural Big Ten season.
Penn State was led by the man whom at one time was the hand-picked successor - aka 'head coach in waiting' - to former Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen. Penn State had parlayed a 4-0 start - including a less-than-impressive 13-10 win at Rutgers - into a 3-game losing streak; highlighted by this excellent example of zone blocking technique.
This provides the set-up for Maryland to somehow, someway, end a 29-game winless streak (0-28-1) against Penn State. A streak that included such nail-biters as 57-13 (1968), 48-0 (1969), 62-27 (1971), 49-13 (1992), and 70-7 (1993, the last time the series had been played). For Maryland fans such as moi, it wasn't these blowouts that were painful; rather, it was the painful near-misses particularly during the Bobby Ross era.
And with that, the Terrapins and Nittany Lions faced off for the first time in 21 years. That's certainly something we can all shake hands on, right?
Well, maybe not.
The game was a low-scoring battle in the first half. Maryland got a second-quarter touchdown from in close; and it looked like the Terps would take a 7-6 lead into the locker room. However, a late second quarter Penn State field goal on a questionable Maryland decision on a penalty gave the Nittany Lions a 9-7 halftime lead.
Things didn't look good for Maryland in the second half. A Chirstian Hackenberg touchdown pass and a nullified Hackenberg pick-six - called back on a phantom roughing the passer penalty - put Penn State up 16-7. Maryland then reeled off 10 straight points to take a 17-16 lead early in the fourth quarter. Sam Ficken nailed a 48 yard field goal to put Penn State back in front 19-17 midway through the fourth quarter. And then, with 51 seconds left, Maryland's Brad Craddock hit a 43 yard field goal giving the Terps a 20-19 lead.
Christian Hackenberg then fumbled on a 4th and 1 scrum with 28 seconds left, earning Maryland their first victory over the Nittany Lions since Lee Corso was Maryland's 26 year old quarterbacks coach! It certainly wasn't pretty - Maryland had a grand total of 196 yards offense and went 1-for-14 on 3rd down. But Randy Edsall, of all people, managed to pull off an #Unrivaled win, than all Maryland fans can shake hands about!
Oh, and while #TheMovement might not have worked out for Randy Edsall, he can make this one claim. Randy Edsall is undefeated as Maryland's head coach against the Penn State Nittany Lions!